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Posted 5/20/2016

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By Robert Kidd

The Southern Ute Indian Tribe of rural Southwest Colorado is interested in developing a program for protecting and restoring wetland functions within their reservation. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District Regulatory Division partnered with the Colorado Natural Heritage Program and provided a multi-day wetland training session for the tribe in early May 2016.

The tribe requested assistance from the Corps and CNHP to provide training on identifying, delineating and assessing wetland communities. The tribal wetland program will likely involve mapping and assessing wetlands within the reservation.

Travis Morse, from the Grand Junction regulatory office, and Kara Hellige, from the Durango regulatory office, provided classroom and field training exercises to tribal staff, focusing on the 1987 Wetland Delineation Manual and the Arid West Supplement.

Instructors reviewed wetland delineation concepts and outlined how to make a determination whether a “wet” area contains the hydric soil, hydrology and hydrophytic vegetation requirements necessary to meet the Corps’ legal definition of a wetland. Field equipment and classroom materials were supplied by the Corps and CNHP.

“The training was very well received,” said Hellige. “The level of interest expressed by tribal staff in preserving natural wetlands was most gratifying.”

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